It will be a special day.
Peter O’Mahony has described Cian Healy as “incredible” as the veteran loosehead prop is set to make his 100th appearance for Ireland in the Six Nations clash with France on Saturday.
Healy made his debut for Ireland way back in 2009 when he started against the Wallabies during a November international at Croke Park. On that day a certain Brian O’Driscoll made his 100th appearance for Ireland, Healy will now repeat that feat some 11 years later.
The Clontarf man has, for the most part, been Ireland’s go-to man at loosehead since he made his debut in 2009 but it could have been very different for the 33-year-old as he came close to retirement in 2015.
Nerve damage sustained during neck surgery left him unable to use his right hand. Healy recalled in previous interviews that he was ready to sign off on the insurance papers to confirm his retirement.
Thankfully, feeling returned to his hand and he then played a part in Ireland’s World Cup campaign that year.
Since then, Healy has been ever-present in the Ireland squad and more often than not, on the starting XV and he is expected to join Brian O’Driscoll, Ronan O’Gara, John Hayes and Rory Best as the fifth Irishman to reach 100 caps.
O’Mahony, who has played alongside Healy at international level for a significant portion of his career, says that no player deserves this more than Healy.
“The professionalism for Cian to be available to play that many games for Ireland, not to mind to be selected, is incredible,” O’Mahony said of Cian Healy.
“Including in that a big stint out which, he wouldn’t mind me saying, was touch and go for him at one stage as regards to getting back playing at all.
“To get back to the form he’s got back to over the last three or four years, if he does get his shot at the weekend, I don’t think anyone deserves it more. His work ethic, his professionalism. A huge character around the place.
“Has filled into a leadership role as well for the younger front rowers coming in around him. To have him to learn off, from their point of view. Not just the looseheads, but all the front rows. It’s an incredible achievement and hopefully whoever gets picked can make it a special one for him.”